- The Washington Times - Monday, September 13, 2004

A Los Angeles radio talk-show duo has targeted two House veterans for defeat as “political human sacrifices” because of their records on illegal immigration.

California Reps. Joe Baca, a Democrat, and David Dreier, a Republican, were deemed the “winners” after last week’s vote by listeners of KFI-AM’s “The John and Ken Show,” a top-rated radio program in Los Angeles.

By attempting to take down the two congressmen in this fall’s election, the talk-show hosts said they hope to send a message to national Democrats and Republicans about the growing frustration over the virtually unchecked wave of illegal immigration from Mexico.

At the same time, they plan to make it fun.

They’ve designed a “Political Human Sacrifice” logo that looks suspiciously like the one used by the NBC reality TV show “Survivor.” Tropical drumbeats play in the background whenever they discuss the project.

The hosts already have interviewed Republican Ed Laning and Democrat Cynthia Matthews, who are running against Mr. Baca and Mr. Dreier, respectively. Next week, they plan to drum up more opposition to Mr. Dreier by broadcasting their show from his suburban Glendora district.

“This won’t change the balance of power in Congress, but it will send shock waves through Washington,” co-host John Kobylt said.

But can they pull it off? It should be noted that Mr. Baca and Mr. Dreier both cruised to victory in their 2002 races, each with about 65 percent of the vote. Mr. Dreier, who chairs the House Rules Committee, has won consecutive re-election bids for the past 24 years.

On the other hand, KFI-AM has 1.1 million weekly listeners, including about 101,000 in Mr. Dreier’s district.

“If you go by the last election, we need to flip about 22,000 votes to defeat Dreier,” Mr. Kobylt said. “And the percentage of people who vote and listen to talk radio is very high, like 70 percent. So it can be done.”

Before selecting their finalists, the hosts held a five-candidate Republican runoff. Mr. Dreier was the only candidate who refused to appear on the show to defend his record on illegal immigration.

In last week’s vote, Mr. Dreier emerged as the overwhelming favorite of listeners, snagging 76 percent of the vote. His closest competitor, California Republican Rep. Christopher Cox, lagged far behind with 7 percent.

Mr. Baca was the unanimous choice of the hosts after he inadvertently triggered the “human sacrifice” idea. In June, Mr. Baca called on Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson to stop an inland Border Patrol sweep that netted 450 undocumented aliens.

The sweep was stopped, prompting an outcry from Mr. Kobylt and his co-host, Ken Champiou.

“Targeting Baca evens the score for people who are worried about losing a vote for their party,” Mr. Kobylt said. “He deserves it as much as David Dreier does, and we needed to do a Democrat.”

Mr. Baca has earned an F in recent years from Americans for Better Immigration. Mr. Dreier received a D.

Neither congressman responded to a request for comment on Friday. Last month, Mr. Dreier told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that the contest unfairly penalized Republicans.

“I’m not going to participate in a game show that pits one Republican against another and gives John Kerry and Barbara Boxer a free pass,” he said.

Mr. Dreier also defended his record on illegal immigration, saying that he had fought “to make sure California state taxpayers do not shoulder the burden of illegal immigration, which is a federal issue, because that’s not fair.”

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